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The Zazzau, also known as the Zaria Emirate is a traditional state with headquarters in the city of Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria. As of September 2019 the emir was Alhaji Shehu Idris.[1]

Gate to the palace of the emir of Zazzau
Gate to the palace of the emir of Zazzau
Flag of Zazzau
Zazzau is located in Nigeria
Coordinates: 11°04′N 7°42′E / 11.067°N 7.700°E / 11.067; 7.700
Country Nigeria
StateKaduna State
 • SarkinShehu Idris

Early Hausa kingdomEdit

Our most important source for the early history of Zazau is a chronicle composed in the early twentieth century from oral tradition. It tells the traditional story of the foundation of the Hausa kingdoms by Bayajidda, a culture hero and gives a list of rulers, along with the length of their reigns. According to this chronology, the original Hausa or Habe kingdom is said to date from the 11th century, founded by King Gunguma.[2] This source also makes it one of the seven Hausa Bakwai states. Zazzau's most famous early ruler was Queen (or princess) Amina, who ruled either in the mid-fifteenth or mid-sixteenth centuries, and was held by Muhammed Bello, an early nineteenth century Hausa historian and the second Sultan of Sokoto, to have been the first to establish a kingdom among the Hausa.[3]

Zazzau was a collection point for slaves to be delivered to the northern markets of Kano and Katsina, where they were exchanged for salt with traders who carried them north of the Sahara.[4] According to the history in the chronicle, Islam was introduced to the kingdom around 1456, but appears to have spread slowly, and pagan rituals continued until the Fulani conquest of 1808. At several times in its history, Zazzau was subject to neighboring states such as Songhai, Bornu and Kwararafa.[5]

Later Fulani emirateEdit

In December 1808 the kingdom was captured in the Fulani jihad.[6] The Hausa ruler had escaped to Abuja, where he established a state now known as the Suleja Emirate, retaining his independence and the title of "Sarkin Zazzau". The ruler of the modern Zazzau Emirate also uses the title "Sarkin Zazzau" or "Sarkin Zaria". After the jihad, the culturally similar but pastoral or nomadic Fulani intermarried with the more settled Habe farmers, and the people of the Emirate today are generally known as Hausa-Fulani. The government of the Zaria Emirate differed from other emirates created at this time in that offices were rarely hereditary, but were appointed based on merit or obligation.[5]


Hausa kingdomEdit

Rulers of the Hausa kingdom:[6]

Start End Ruler
1696 1701 Bako III dan Musa
1701 1703 Ishaq
1703 1704 Burema II Ashakuka
1704 1715 Bako IV dan Sunkuru
1715 1726 Muhamman dan Gunguma
1726 1733 Uban Bawa
1733 1734 Muhamman Gani
1734 1734 Abu Muhammadu Gani
1734 1737 Dan Ashakuka
1737 1757 Muhamman Abu III
1757 1759 Bawo
1759 1764 Yunusa
1764 1767 Yaqub
1767 1773 Aliyu
1773 1779 Cikkoku
1779 1782 Muhamman Mai Gamo
1782 November 1806 Ishaq Jatau
November 1806 December 1808 Muhammad Makau dan Ishaq Jatau

Independent Fulani rulersEdit

Rulers of the independent Fulani emirate:[6]

Start End Ruler
31 December 1808 17 May 1821 Malam Musa ibn Suleiman Ibn Muhammad
June 1821 1835 Yamusa ibn Mallam Kilba
1835 18 December 1846 Abd al-Karim ibn Abbas
6 January 1847 28 February 1847 Hammada ibn Yamusa
15 Apr 1847 Apr 1854 Muhammad Sani ibn Yamusa
Apr 1854 Dec 1854 Sidi `Abd al-Qadir ibn Musa
Jan 1855 5 Aug 1856 Abd as-Salam ibn Muhammad Ka'i
21 Sep 1856 Oct/Nov 1870 Abd Allah ibn Hammada (1st time)
22 Nov 1870 Jun/Jul 1873 Abu Bakr ibn Musa (d. 1873)
Aug/Sep 1873 Nov/Dec 1878 Abd Allah ibn Hammada (2nd time)
26 Dec 1878 Jan 1888 Muhammad Sambo ibn Abd al-Karim
Jan 1888 13 Feb 1897 Uthman Yero ibn Abd Allah (d. 1897)
17 Apr 1897 Mar 1903 Muhammad Lawal Kwassau ibn Uthman Yero

Colonial period and later rulersEdit

Rulers of the independent Fulani emirate:[6]

Start End Ruler
March 1903 8 April 1903 Sulayman (regent from 11 Sep 1902)
8 April 1904 9 November 1920 Ali ibn Abd al-Qadir (d. 1924)
1920 1924 Dallatu ibn Uthman Yero
1924 1936 Ibrahim ibn Muhammad Lawal Kwassau (b. c.1886 - d. 1936)
1936 August 1959 Malam Jafar ibn Ishaq (b. 1891 - d. 1959)
September 1959 4 February 1975 Muhammad al-Amin ibn Uthman (b. 1908 - d. 1975)
8 February 1975 Shehu ibn Idris (b. 1936)

External linksEdit

  • Dan Isaacs (September 28, 2010). "Nigeria's emirs: Power behind the throne". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-09-29.


  1. ^ Isa Liman (4 January 2010). "Zazzau Emirate Council to Send Man Who Lost Private Part Abroad for Treatment". Daily Trust. Retrieved 2010-09-29.
  2. ^ E. J. Arnett, "A Hausa Chronicle" Journal of the Royal African Society 9 (1910)
  3. ^ Muhammad Bello, Infaq 'l-Maysuur, chapter 7, translated Muhammad Shareef, (Sennar, Sudan,2008)
  4. ^ "Zaria". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2010-09-29.
  5. ^ a b M. G. Smith, International African Institute. (1960). "Government in Zazzau, 1800-1950". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2010-09-29.
  6. ^ a b c d "Traditional States of Nigeria". Retrieved 2010-09-01.